Skip to content

Giroud Lecture Tour Success In Brazil And Chile

Conference delegates and IGS members alike welcomed Dr Nathalie Touze when she took her prestigious Giroud Lecture to South America.

Dr. Nathalie Touze delivering the Giroud Lecture

The IGS Vice President addressed the Regeo & Geossintéticos 2019 conference in Brazil on August 14, before sharing her ideas with IGS Chile members on August 16. She also spoke at a pre-Regeo workshop on August 13.

Regeo 2019, which examined aspects of environmental geotechnics and geosynthetics, took place in the city of São Carlos in São Paulo state. It was organised by IGS Brazil and the Brazilian Society of Soil Mechanics.

Conference Vice President Dr Fernando Portelinha, who represents IGS Brazil in São Paulo state, co-organised the event with Dr Orencio Monje Vilar, Regeo’s President.

Dr Portelinha, who is also a member of the IGS Technical Committee in Soil Reinforcement, said: “Dr. Touze’s exceptional lecture had a positive impact with the audience. It was a unique opportunity to recognise geosynthetics as technical materials influencing society through environmental protection, and contributing to agriculture, infrastructure and economic development. The audience really enjoyed the presentation.”

Some 400 delegates attended, including researchers, consultants, undergraduates and graduate students, as well as IGS corporate and individual members.

Dr. Nathalie Touze addressing IGS Chile Chapter members at Espacio CDT en Santiago
Dr. Natalie Touze and IGS Chile Chapter Leadership

Dr Touze then went on to Chile, where she addressed IGS chapter members at Espacio CDT en Santiago at an event co-organized by the chapter.

The Chilean chapter President Francisco Pizarro said: “The lecture really captured the attention of attendees since it raised many aspects beyond technical issues such as the aesthetic impact of geosynthetics as well as the resonance it has on the environment.

“As a member of the IGS Board, we also appreciated Dr Touze’s collaboration to help us build stronger Technical Committees. Indeed, we are working strongly to develop a Barrier Committee considering it’s an application that has several uses here in Chile.”

Dr Touze also participated in a workshop co-organised by IGS Brazil at the Federal University of São Carlos on August 13. Themed ‘Geosynthetics in environmental and infrastructure applications’, the event was an opportunity to allow greater interaction between delegates ahead of the conference. It was the first time the university had held an event solely on geosynthetics.

Dr. Jorge Zornberg and Dr. Nathalie Touze

Dr Touze spoke about ‘Geomembranes over GCLs: the optimal combination for barriers against contaminant transport’, before Dr Jorge Zornberg, of the University of Texas at Austin, spoke about ‘Load-carrying geosynthetic-reinforced bridge abutments’.

Chaired by Dr Portelinha, who also teaches at the university, and colleague Dr Natalia Correia, who is on the board of directors for IGS Brazil, the workshop attracted around 50 graduates, engineers and geo-professionals.

Dr Touze said: “Both Giroud Lecture events were a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and developments in how geosynthetics have a huge part to play in ameliorating many global challenges.

“I also enjoyed meeting chapter members, colleagues and the next generation of geosynthetics engineers and developers – the future is bright.”

Dr. Jorge Zornberg, Dr. Natalia Correia, Dr. Fernando Portelinha and Dr. Nathalie Touze with the Geosynthetics Research Group at the Federal University of São Carlos

Dr Touze’s Giroud Lecture debuted at the 11th International Conference on Geosynthetics (ICG) in Seoul, Korea. Entitled ‘Healing the world: a geosynthetics solution’, it explored ideas of how geosynthetics could mitigate the impact of a range of global socio-economic, environmental and resource challenges.

Geosynthetics pioneer Dr. J P Giroud, after whom the lecture is named, called her talk “absolutely outstanding”.

Highlights of Dr Touze’s ICG lecture can be found here, and you can also watch a lively chat between Drs Giroud and Touze as part of the Two For A Few video series, here.

About the Giroud Lecture

The Giroud Lecture recognizes exceptional achievement and influence in the field of geosynthetics. It is delivered every four years during the opening of the International Conferences on Geosynthetics. First awarded in 1998, the Giroud Lecture on Geosynthetics is one of the International Geosynthetics Society’s highest distinctions. Previous lectures have been given by Dr. Robert Koerner (1998), Dr. R Kerry Rowe (2002), Chris Lawson (2006), Prof. Heinz Brandl (2010), and Dr. Richard Bathurst (2014). Dr. Giroud developed many of the design methods and originated many of the applications used in geosynthetic engineering, including many of those pertaining to landfills, liquid impoundments, and dams. He holds the status of Honorary Member of the International Geosynthetics Society, has been named a ‘Hero’ of the Geo-Institute of ASCE, has delivered major international geotechnical lectures such as the Mercer and Terzahgi Lectures, and has been recognized by the Order of the Legion d’Honneur in France. He remains very active in the field.